Letter: Balkan quarrels: common sense and lost causes

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The Independent Online
Sir: So David Branson (letter, 30 December) agrees with Andrew Marr that the ethnic cantonisation of Bosnia is a 'fair solution', even if it means the 'limited transfer of populations'.

He does not believe that a secular state can emerge from the former Yugoslavia and suggests that the price to be 'exacted' from Serbia for its recent conquests is 'independence' for Albanians in Kosovo and the right to join Albania. But this plays straight into the hands of Serbian nationalism, which is in favour of the wholesale transfer of 'disloyal' Albanians to Albania.

Once the problems 'have been resolved', presumably in the manner he describes, Mr Branson believes we could then turn our attention to Northern Ireland and apply similar principles. Perhaps he believes the 47 per cent Catholic population of the North should all be transferred to the (Catholic) South?

For Mr Branson's information, the majority of Serbs fighting the multi-ethnic Bosnian government are not Bosnian at all; they are from Serbia and Montenegro. Some of the top positions in the Bosnian Defence Force are held by Serbs, and both Bosnia's prime minister and defence minister are Croats.

Furthermore, Radovan Karadzic, often referred to as 'the leader of the Bosnian Serbs', is in fact from Montenegro and is simply Slobodan Milosevic's stooge put in to lead Bosnia's fifth column. Sarajevo Serbs, who make up 20 per cent of Bosnia's defence forces, certainly see him as that and are fighting against the ethnic cantonisation of Bosnia which Mr Branson so much wants to see.

Yours faithfully,


London, SE7

30 December